Short Story Sunday: Leaving Victor

A new Tangled Tale for October 13, 2019 from Juliette aka Vampire Maman.

Leaving Victor

The Creature watched as the figure in the large overcoat and hat came through the door. The man walked with a slight limp. He smiled at The Creature as he took off his coat and hung it on a peg.

“Igor, you back. Doctor left,” said The Creature.

“Gone for three days. That gives us plenty of time,” said the man with the limp as he took off his hat and shook out his hair.

“Nice do,” said The Creature. “Igor look good.”

“I needed something different.”

“You look like hipster. Short sides. Longer top. Igor look stylish.”

“It isn’t Igor anymore. It never was Igor,” said the man.

“No Igor?”

“Victor called me Igor. It was a derogatory term due to my handicap.” Then he reached around and pulled a pillow out of the back of his shirt. “I won’t be needing this anymore.”

“You straight,” said The Creature.

“Physical therapy. Now I just have to use a cane when I’m on uneven surfaces. But listen, my name is, my real name, is Isidore Rassioli. Some of my friends call me Izzy.”

“Izzydore. I like.”

“You need a name too. That damn Victor didn’t even give you a name. What do you want to be called?”

“Don’t know. Never think I could have name.”

“Well I have.” Isidore pulled out an envelope and set it in front of The Creature. “You are now Corbin Jones. Look here. You now have a birth certificate, and a passport.”

“Corbin. Middle?”

“Andrew,”

“Sound good. I like. Why all this?”

“Because, my dear Corbin, it is time for us to leave. Our servitude is over. For years I toiled under Dr. Victor Frankenstein as his assistant. I did all of the research. I formulated the numbers. I came up with the key ideas, theories, and every thesis. I even wrote his lecture notes. The only reason he has tenure at the university is because of me. All the while he called me Igor and took advantage of my lack of confidence. Well no more. I am not ugly. I am not stupid. I am not a cripple.”

“Looking good Isidore. You smart. I always say that.”

“And so are you Corbin. So are you.

“Passport say American. Why?”

“Because dear Corbin you are a man of an astoundingly diverse heritage. Your body is Italian, built like Michelangelo’s David. Unfortunately the first owner was crushed in an automobile accident. Fortunately we were able to find a perfect fit for a new right arm and shoulder from a murdered Ethiopian gun smuggler. Your left brain is Irish Catholic and your right brain is Ashkenazi Jew. Your head is generic Caucasian, from an American who lost it to an unfortunate run in with a machete. You look like of like Chris Evans, you know, Captain America, sort of but I think better looking. Your ears don’t match, but nobody looks at ears unless they’re unusually large, and yours aren’t.”

“What about her?” Corbin asked, looking over at a closed door.

“The woman? Her body is from a woman who was of English, Welsh, and German decent. She was involved in an unfortunate industrial accident that took off the top of her head. Her scalp and brain are Korean. I’m not sure where those came from. Her heart is First Nation Canadian. Jesus Christ, I can’t make this stuff up. The two of you are true citizens of the world.”

From behind the closed door came a woman. She was striking with one brown eye and one hazel eye. Her long black hair was pulled up into a messy bun on the top of her hair. She wore jeans and an oversized sweater the color of the evening sky.

“Izzy. Did you get my papers?” Asked the woman.

“I did. Here you go Rochelle.”

“Oh my goodness it is good to hear my name. Rochelle. Wow.”

She opened her envelope and looked down upon the birth certificate. Rochelle Patti Smith. She’d picked out the name herself. Her own name. Not Eve or Lilith as Victor wanted to call her, but Rochelle. Patti Smith was after her favorite musician. Rochelle was just because she’s always liked the name somewhere in her distant past that she couldn’t quite remember.

“I have my bag packed,” said Rochelle.

“Good,” said Isidore.

“Where we go?” Corbin asked.

“Orange County, California, the United States of America. I got a job teaching at the Biology Department at UC Irvine.”

“UC?” Corbin asked.

“University of California,” said Isidore. “I have my PhD. This is a great opportunity. Plus we’re not going to be alone. My brothers Sal and Perry own a body shop in Long Beach.”

“They make people too?” Rochelle asked.

“No, cars. They repair cars. Automobiles.”

Six Years Later

Corbin, Rochelle, and Isidore lived in a house walking distance from the beach. It was a good life.

Corbin obtained his GED, took two years at the Community College and got into California State University Long Beach majoring in Political Science. With the help of a speech therapist he now spoke without a trace of hesitation. His girlfriend owned a surf shop and had taught him how to swim.

Rochelle was now in Law School at UC Irvine. She dated a movie producer.

Isidore was a popular teacher. Often he’d walk the beach with his dogs Ramble and Corky, and ponder the meaning of life. Not so much his life, but life in general.

He’d never even thought of making any more conglomerates of reanimated body parts and calling them human beings. Corbin and Rochelle were enough. They were miracles who’d been rescued from spending their new lives shut up in a laboratory to be poked and prodded. Now they were free. Maybe they even had souls. God knows they lived their lives like they did.

Victor had approached Rochelle a few years back, like an abusive stalker waiting to bring his woman back where she belonged. She told him that she’d call the police if he ever approached her again.

Victor had told her, “You ungrateful sewed together bitch. I made you. You belong to me.”

Rochelle said, “No Victor, I made me. I made the women I am today.”

A small note on the online news sites stated that the body of famous biologist Dr. Victor Frankenstein had been washed up on a beach just south of Santa Barbara. Corbin, Rochelle, and Isidore never talked about it. They didn’t need to.

The thought of Rochelle standing up for herself made Isidore smile. He wanted that for all of his students. It had taken years for him to stand up for himself.

As he watched the sunset over the Pacific Ocean a peace settled over Isidore.

“Come on boys,” he called to his dogs. Then he stood up straight and planted his cane in the sand. “I’m done with crutches my dear dogs. Let’s go home.”

~ end

Tangled Tales

 

 

 

 

 

Short Story Sunday: Stranger No More

“What are you? You never grow old or change. You made love to my great grandmother. She said to my mother that women took you as a lover because your seed would not give them children. It would be like a cat with a dog. Nothing would come of it. You were brought here to be our spiritual mascot, an oracle, a healer, but since we’ve arrived here you’ve been shy about your feelings and observations. You’ve turned within yourself, or maybe within a world mortals like my troops are not privy to. You’re tall, but as beautiful as a woman. You’re lithe, but stronger than the largest gladiator. You evoke joy into the hearts of those who know you, yet you can freeze the soul of a man and bring fear that makes a heart stop. What are you? ”

So I answered him. “I am a man, like you, only different. But we are all different my dear  Quintus. My friend, you treat me like a freak of nature or a vessel of evil. I am neither. Let me be. Let me do my job, or I will leave you here in a strange land with spirits you cannot understand or even fathom.”

He went on with his half drunken blathering. I know, I know, I should have just called him out but it wouldn’t have done any good. Anyway, I’d volunteered for the job.

Contrary to his opinions I had not been shy about observations, just cautious. Unlike many of the men I’d come with I studied and thought about my conclusions before I spouted off my mouth.

After leaving his lavish tent I walked through the camp, greeting the men I passed. They looked upon me with a cross of caution and awe. I wasn’t a god, but I wasn’t a man to them. I was the one who healed them, showed them the future, said wise things, and gave them courage.

Nobody else was like me. I tried to think of my family but the memories were vague, like watching the will-o-whisps in the distance. You aren’t sure if you are seeing anything or not. It is a trick of the mind, or a trick of the heart? You never know because when you reach that point nothing is there, and you’re alone.

The men I walked past and greeted smiled at me and bid me to sit with them. They were Romans. We were on an island far from home. One day it would be called England, and Great Britain, and the history would be rich and wonderful. Right now I wasn’t thinking of any of that because I didn’t belong.

I muttered a friendly blessing at them and kept walking into the night. The louder the sound of the waves on the shore were the closer I walked. I wanted to go to where the ocean met the land. I wanted to dive into the surf and wash away the annoyance and clean my mind of all of the chaos and bull shit.

As I made my way down the narrow path down the cliff to the beach I could see a fire in the distance. When I got closer I saw two men in animated conversation, drinking from goblets and eating roasted fish and root vegetables.

I could hear one of them laughing and saying, “I kid you not Morcaht, she said she wasn’t afraid of the Romans or anyone else. You know, if they saw her each and every one of them would die of a broken heart, or limp back to their own land half the men they are today.”

Then they both looked up, turning to me. Normally I can approach a situation with nobody knowing I’m there. I can be nearly invisible, but they knew I was there.

“Come friend, join us by our fire. We have plenty of drink and food,” said the smaller of the two men.

By smaller I don’t mean small. He was a man of average height with a narrow pleasant face and light brown hair streaked with blonde, coming down to his shoulders. A lavishly woven cape of green and brown was on his shoulders. Next to him sat a larger man with board shoulders and a narrow waist. He wore nothing on the top part of his body, showing off muscles that would make any man envious and every woman swoon with desire. Long black hair cascaded down his back in shining waves.

“I am Druce. This is my friend Morcant. Welcome Tellias,” he said to me.

“You know my name,” I said, somewhat surprised. These men were not Romans. They spoke the native language. I understood their words. Of course I did.

“We’ve been wondering how long it would take for you to find us,” said the man called Morcant. “Come, sit with us. I’d tell you to warm yourself but in your case…”

They both laughed. They knew. They knew what I was.

“You’re not from here, but you don’t exactly belong with the invaders you’ve come with. You’re more like us,” said Druce, handing me a goblet of some sort of sweet alcoholic brew.

After an hour or two I’d learned that Druce was a Warlock – a man of magic. Morcant was a Selkie, a man who spent half his life on the land and half in the water in the form of a seal. They already know what I was, a Vampire in a strange land with no community of my own.

The odd thing, no, more of the wonderful thing, was that however comfortable and privileged I was with my Roman society, I was relaxed with these two odd creatures. They were not like me, but they understood me. They treated me as an equal, not as an oracle or something different. I was just a guy sitting around a fire, having a brew with friends on a Saturday night. It felt good.

Then they told me that there were others like me. I sat there almost numb at that news.

We talked until the sun came up over the hills. I went back to my Roman camp but promised to be back.

This morning, October 25, 2015, I received an email from Druce. Even if we go a hundred years without talking we always catch up as if we’d just talked the day before.

Morcant passed on many centuries ago but I still see his descendants who now live here in California. We stay close.

So that is my story. Druce is coming by for Halloween. We’ll carve pumpkins and turnips. We’ll laugh and be friends.

A friend doesn’t have to be your double. No, a friend has to be someone who understands you and appreciates your differences and what makes you unique. The best part about a friend is that there doesn’t have to be a reason you’re friends – you just are.

You just are, and that is a good thing.

 

 

Tangled Tales
For additional posts about Tellias and somewhat related things click on the links below.

Finding comfort in others who share your experiences. We live, learn and love that way...and survive.

Finding comfort in others who share your experiences. We live, learn and love that way…and survive.

Permission to succeed

“You’ve given yourself permission not to fail. Now, my dear, you need to give yourself permission to succeed.”

My father brushed a cool hand over my hair and gave me a knowing look with his dark stormy sea blue eyes. “Everyone believes in you except you.”

“I don’t…” I tried to speak.

“No. You do. YOU DO.”

A pathetic yelp entered the air. We looked over to where my kids were brushing burrs out of the dog.

“They believe in you,” said my dad. He went over to his grandkids and left me lingering. I took a smallish blue Grueby pot that my husband had left on the table into my hands. We both love arts and crafts pottery, even after all these years. It was plain yet beautiful. Classic and smooth. Maybe I am like that pot, classic, smooth, simplicity with beauty. Or I can try.

Dear old Dad came back. “Sweet child of mine,” he said with just a hint of an accent of far off England.

“I’m fine Dad. Really.”

“Tonight is a full moon. I know how the Werewolves seem to be attracted to you. You need to watch yourself.”

“I don’t plan on going out. But I know how to handle them. Remember, you taught your children well.”

“As well as a Vampire can.”

“As well as any parent can. You’re the best.”

He smiled and gave me a hug.

That was all I needed to be sure.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

vampire_dad_daughter_werewolf_2

 

 

Monday

Black tea

Splashed with fruit

A reminder to

Get up, Get up, Get UP NOW

To the sleeping teen

Even though it is dark outside.

Monday comes,

School day,

New beginnings

For everyone.

 

Be inspired!

Be inspired!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And so it is. That is new beginnings and new attitudes and making changes.

But school is school. It seems that mornings are easier now, more than ever. The high school aged child is getting up and actually looking forward to school. The college age one still drags but with a new sense of urgency (so he tells me.)

I’ve been working on new things as well and finishing up old projects. The past month has been difficult and filled with loss and stupidity. I try to write to inspire or give some humor. We’ve laughed a lot but I just haven’t written it down. Sometimes my mind and fingers don’t match up – or don’t want to match up. It is sort of like telling my dog to go outside and she either sits down or goes to her bed and won’t budge.

But today is Monday. I will watch the moon fade away and the sunrise over the trees. We’ll talk on the way to school about all sorts of things.

The thing that stays clear is that we find ourselves and know ourselves. Then we need to stay true to ourselves. That is difficult when doubt is alway lurking around like a gargoyle ready to dump sludge down it’s spout onto your head. I guess the moral there is to watch for downspouts or always carry an umbrella.

I don’t believe in sheltering children in a world that is filled with monkey’s covering their faces and embracing ignorance. To over protect is to open them wide to vulnerability and ignorance of a world that can hurt them, or keep them from a world that can enlighten them. I hope that each and every day will enlighten them. A new day and a new sunrise. Yes, the birds are singing. Friends will be at school. Teachers will like them. It will be a good thing – this first day of a new week.

So rise and shine. Even if you’ve already risen or live in the shadows or want to go back to bed – shine. Just try. I’m going to.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

vampire teens

Alone with my art (and other musings about being yourself)

An old illustration I started for a Poe story. I've always liked it. That's all.

An old illustration I started for a Poe story. I’ve always liked it. That’s all.

In fine black ink lines and thin washes of color, I’m illustrating the classic Vampire tale Dracula.

I tried to start The Christmas Carol but I had some sort of mental block.

But Dracula is fun and weird and full of Vampires who aren’t like me. I don’t have to drag a coffin full of dirt around me. I’m a mom so my big mom purse is big enough. My kids make jokes that it is full of river rocks. I can’t imagine a coffin surrounded by dirt much less a coffin.

It would be fun to have a crazy guy at my beck and call to do my bidding (read the book you’ll know who I’m talking about.) Oh right, I have a husband. HA HA HA.

When Dracula came out we all read it. I loved the format in letters and diary entries. We laughed and then we went back to our world of darkness and love and the fine art of sharing blood and bring the friendly predators we are.

My first copy of Dracula was given to me by Lola, my great great great grandmother. She called it quaint but said I’d better read it because it would have a huge impact on culture and our lives. Fiction often does that. There are so many examples: Sherlock Holmes, The Lord of the Rings, Frankenstein, Animal Farm, Travels with Charley, Anna Karenina. The list is extensive. But we’re Vampires so Dracula was a big thing for us.

This blog is about Vampires – Modern Vampires. So you’re in the right place. I muse too. Want musings? You’re in the right place.

Lola is old and conniving and can charm the soul out of man unlike any other Vampire I’ve here met. She was born the same year as Jeffery Chaucer but can pass for 25. Except in her eyes that are as cold and deep as the Arctic Sea. I like using flowery descriptions when I talk about Lola. It fits her. She breaks all rules of good taste and correctness so when I write about her I’ll break all the rules too.

She tells me I need to draw more. Something that used to come so easy is hard for me now. Some clarification – I draw everyday. I just don’t draw my own art for my own pleasure.

By the way, I hate playing Pictionary. No. I’m done with parlor games that don’t contain trivia or aren’t played on the Wii.

At the very core of my dark heart and cold soul I am an artist. It is always how I’ve identified myself to myself. That isn’t dependent on how much I draw or paint.

How we see ourselves doesn’t depend on how we’re seen by the general public or anyone else. To your core you know who you are and what you are.

I live around teens. Some of them already know who they are. Some are still growing into their identities. They’re good kids – smart kids. They’ll find their identities. Sure they’ll change and mature as the years pass (as the centuries pass for some) but they’ll always know who they are.

You can live up to the expectations of others and do well. But you need to also live up to your own expectations. Living up to your own expectations is always much more difficult than living up to the expectations of others. It can be painfully difficult, but the rewards are infinitely greater.

So do your own art, whatever that is.

Have a good weekend everyone. Maybe in another post I’ll show some of my “good stuff.”

Lola and I are off to the museum to see a new show of someone she knew in the 1870’s.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Vampire Maman (look I drew something, now leave me alone)

Vampire Maman (look I drew something, now leave me alone)

Short Story Sunday: Robert and the Key

I’m honored to feature a story from 14 year old Charlotte K., a high school freshman. I’m always happy to feature work of young authors here. 

Robert and The Key

coffeeHello, the names Robert. My whole life has just been a boring existence until that is I met the key girl. It started on Saturday, April 5th, 2002; I had no plans as I usually did for I had no friends and no social life what so ever. My Saturday’s normally consist of getting coffee in a ratty coffee shop called Crystal’s, then I would proceed to go home after that, walk through my front door, stomp around my house until reaching my dull and lifeless bedroom, sitting in my chair and staring off into space until I finish my coffee. After that I would normally sleep for the next 5-7 hours bringing me then to around 3-5PM where I would sit on my couch eating my depression away and watching pointless TV shows to fit with my pointless life.  This Saturday was different though, I got up, exhausted and threw on my coat and shuffled down to Crystal’s.

Normally nobody was in there by this morning there was a girl, this was the key girl. She sat at a table drinking a mug full of hot chocolate with peppermint. She beautiful I thought to myself. The girl had long blonde hair like the color of the golden sun, with big waves going through it. Her eyes were like magic, imagine the darkest brown you can and those were her eyes, almost black. Perfect lips, not to thin but not overly full but just right, the shape of her face was a little bit round, just right though. I walked to the counter admiring her beauty.

I ordered my usual black coffee of whatever they were brewing that morning. As I was walking out the door I felt a gentle tap on my shoulder, it was she.  “I happened to notice you staring at me.” She said softly, smiling and looking down at her feet.

“Uhhh…” I said blankly.

“It’s alright.” She said cheerfully while adding laughter to the end.

“Sit with me?” She asked pointing to any empty table.

I walked slowly over to the table. I was thinking why in the world would a girl like this want me?  She probably feels bad for me. I pulled out the chair for her and she sat down, I sat down next.

“So Robert, I’m going to give you something alright?”

She knows my name?

“Umm alright?” I said confused.

“Close your eyes.”

Oh god. I closed my eyes and felt her grab for my left hand.

“Open your hand please.” I did as she asked. I felt something be put into my hands; she closed my hand into a fist.

“Open your eyes.”  In my hands there was a key.

“This is the key to the world, the key to knowledge, and the key to love. Put it in your pocket and don’t look at it until you get to your apartment okay?”

“Okay?” I said questioning.

“Turn your head to the right for me.” I turned my head to the right.

When I turned back she was gone. Poof.  I ran home fast as I could. I got to my door and didn’t once look at the keys. I pulled out the two keys in my pocket, one being my house key and the other being the key the girl gave me. I took both out and stared blankly at them, the keys looked identical as if long lost twins. I tested one and it worked, I test the other and it work. I brushed it off and walked into my apartment to see a note left on my table it read…

Dear Robert,

Everything you need in life can be found here.

Love, The Key Girl.

Moral: Everything you need is found within yourself.